In 2014, Marvel Studios, in collaboration with ABC, decided to create five series for the online streaming service, Netflix. The first was Daredevil, which kicked off the series with great excitement, including a second season that topped the first. Then came the story of Jessica Jones, the first Marvel property to deal with drug abuse and PTSD, and was critically raved about. Last year, we were introduced to Luke Cage, the hero of Harlem and told the story of a black superhero in today’s society. This St. Patricks Day, we saw witness to the first season of Iron Fist, a show about Danny Rand, the kung-fu master with a fist of Iron. But how would the show fare in comparison to its predecessors, and would it be a proper lead-in into the fifth series, The Defenders? This is the JayTezla Nerdvana review of Iron Fist, and major spoiler warning if you have not seen the show.
But First, Lets Address the 11 Ton Elephant In The Room
Okay, now while I personally love Marvel and know for a fact that they are more open to different cultures and ideas, I personally think that people who are pissed off at this series are only doing it because of SJW extremes. To say that a white man should not play Danny Rand and that an Asian American should, despite the fact that Danny is originally white in the comics, not only comes off as misinformed, but genuinely stupid. To me, it would have been more of an insult if the character was Asian American, as the story is about a boy from an outside world learning the ways of a new world and becoming so ingrained in it that he becomes an outsider to the world he was originally from. To me, if people are going to complain about the character and ask why the actor is not Asian, hence sticking to realism and history of something, then how would you like it if Luke Cage did that exact same thing? Didn’t think so. Now back to the review.
- The Tie-ins: I personally loved the little tie-ins they managed to put into this show. First and foremost, can we talk about how they found a way to sneak in the idea that Orson Randall is out there somewhere? I also love the sixth episode, directed by the RZA, where they found a cool way to put the Dog brothers, the Bride of Nine Spiders and the male version of Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter into the show as minor villains that they could expand upon in a future season. I also love the way they tied in Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Luke Cage into small parts but hinting towards where they are and what they may or may not be up to.
- Madame Gao and Colleen Wing: To me, this was the strongest part of the cast, as we learned to love the character of Wing and despise even more the character of Madame Gao. Jessica Hinwick did a damn good job of portraying the character, especially in fight scenes (I would have loved if the cage fighting had more of a role in the season). Madame Gao on the other hand, became the top villain of the all the Marvel Netflix shows as she instantaneously took over every scene she was in. I’m more interested in seeing how she becomes a threat in The Defenders and how much of a foe she really is.
- Scott Buck, story pacing and ABC Studios: Now a lot of people will say that this show’s biggest fail is Finn Jones, but I completely disagree. To me, his blame falls at the feet of show runner Scott Buck and ABC Studios. This is the fourth series they have had where it felt halfway complete. Don’t believe me? Look at Daredevil season 1, where no one cared about the show until the Kingpin story was on-screen, season 2, where it took a dip after Punisher was arrested and the Nobu/ Hand arc was jumbled around. Then look at Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, where no one cared for the main story in Luke Cage after Cottonmouth dies, and Jessica Jones was 15 minutes of goodness each episode, with 30 minutes of exposition. To me, the show should have been eight episodes, and not 13. But in keeping with that, if they wanted to make Iron Fist better, they should have shot this either simultaneously with Luke Cage, or spent more time developing not only the general theme of the show, but his fighting as well as there is no reason as to why Danny Rand’s fighting shouldn’t be mesmerizing. I can understand budget reasons why the dragon was never on-screen but you can tell me that more time should have been spent towards Kun Lun. To that point, Scott Buck needs to either not direct the next season or allow RZA to come in and do the show.
- Fighting: Okay let’s get to the point of this show that somewhat pissed me off, and pissed off a lot of Iron Fist fans: the fighting. While it isn’t the best, I can’t get over the fact that the show runners didn’t have him boot camp like the rest of the other series in order to prepare for this show, especially this show. Now while I loved the fighting in episode six, short of that and the hallway fight against the Triads, there isn’t much in the fighting department I was captured by. The one shot they had was much later in the season, where Danny and Davos fight through the Hand in order to escape, but even then, it didn’t feel amazing to see. And while this blame can be tied into my first negative, it’s is own because I felt like this show was mostly taken over by the Meachum’s horrible storyline that I didn’t care for and or want. If this show had more of Iron Fist hunting forces of the Hand instead of making business deals.
Final Grade: 7 out of 10: To me, this show was the 4th best show of the bunch, and while it is mired in bad, it is not the worst show I’ve ever watched in the comic book realm. That title would belong to Arrow’s third, fourth and fifth seasons. I think the show will improve in a possible second season, but if it was me, I would combine Luke Cage and this and just both of the character’s second season be Heroes For Hire. This show isn’t a complete dumpster fire, it has building blocks towards a good story, but it never fully used those blocks. Hopefully this will change in the future, especially in The Defenders
Well thats my review of Marvel’s Iron Fist, what are your thoughts? Did you like the show, did you hate it so much you wanted to kick it back to Kun Lun, or were you at complete indifference with it by saying meh? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below, and come back next time to my nerdvana.